Food traceability (FT) means being able to know the origin and traces of food products along all the stages like production, processing, manufacturing, distribution and consumption. It means ensuring traceability throughout the supply chain.
According to a white paper that was released at India’s first conference on food traceability – Food traceability has been highlighted as an important link global food trade and ensuring environment-friendly agriculture.
Food traceability is important for food-safety, security, efficient operability and quality control. It includes logistics management for storing, collecting, transmitting information about food supply-chains. This information can be traced upward or downwards.
Food traceability is required to ensure quality and for that robust technical solutions are required, for example blockchain technology.
Food traceability secures transparency in food supply chains, which is an important aspect in agri-business and even on a daily basis.
Since India is seeing rise in agricultural exports and will continue to see so in future, the potential for adopting and benefitting from Food traceability is high.
India will see a rise in agricultural raw food and processed food exports by $60 billion in 2022 from $38.4 billion in 2019.
The consumers have the right to know where their food comes from, what all processing takes place and where it happens with the information about all chemicals or pesticides being used. Therefore, food traceability provides them with this information.
FT can be incorporated in various food products ranging from – dairy products, fisheries, meat, dry fruits, cash crops like coffee, processed packaged to seafood, etc.
FT can also prove helpful in case of animal or plant disease outbreaks like Avian flu, source of origin of implicated products can provide with relevant information to reduce response time and diseases can be contained likewise. Therefore, FT is important for food safety and quality compliance.
In case of agri-businesses, proper food traceability mechanisms can help to deal with emergencies and for better risk management enabling quick withdrawal, etc. from the markets. It also helps in identifying supply-side difficulties.
Also, providing such information to the consumers helps in building consumer-confidence.
Several countries have even made it compulsory to ensure food traceability under their food-safety laws.
India’s agri-export body – Agriculture and Processed food products Export development authority (APEDA) – has implemented FT system through technologies such as Trace.net, Basmati.net.
Technologies such as Blockchain can be used to build food traceability platforms.
Blockchain provides transparency which is the most required aspect of FT.
With blockchain, traceability can be achieved within a few seconds for any product.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology, which consists of blocks which contains the information or the records. These blocks are linked to each other via an extensive mining process using cryptography. This chain cannot be tampered with, in this way companies cannot tamper with the information of products in the supply chain. This way no participant can change any information. Information once added stays there forever. It is the same technology on which Bitcoin is based.
Therefore, food traceability is an emerging need in today’s world with open global markets and is a step towards making consumers aware of the food they consume and setting up sustainable and ethical food supply-chains.
Source- Down to Earth
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